And if cooking became
a child's play ?
During my master's degree at the Ecole de design Nantes Atlantiques, I worked for over a year to understand the situation of visually impaired people. As an industrial designer, I imagined Ugo, a project you can find on my portfolio. But now that my goal is to become a Product Designer, I wanted to take all these inputs and see if I could bring a different solution, a digital solution adapted to the needs of visually impaired people. To do this, I was able to take back the previous elements, which took more than a year to build. More than a billion people in the world suffer from a more or less profound impairment, that is 15% of the population. Moreover, there is a significant difference between a disability that is present at birth and one that is acquired during the course of one's life. During my many interviews, I was able to understand that cooking is an activity that is partially or completely neglected by people with visual impairments.
About the project
The idea for this project is not new, and dates back to last year. I noticed, after having followed for more than a year people in situation of visual handicap, that few things were made in their goal, by adapting to them. It is very often the opposite that happens, and it is very often the disabled people who have to adapt to their environment, to the tools they use, to their entourage etc...
With this in mind, and after having realized a first tangible project, in the industrial field, I decided to reiterate the project by bringing a digital vision to it, and by seeing if digital was not a simpler and less expensive answer, both in development and for the users.
Discover & Understand
Unfortunately, visually impaired people face many problems in their daily lives. Every action that seems simple and basic to the average person becomes difficult when sight is no longer present. That's why I was able to study different situations before I realised that it was indeed the kitchen that posed the most problems. From cleaning to commuting, from putting on make-up to getting dressed, I was able to meet the people concerned and understand that these situations all presented different difficulties. However, cooking is the activity that presents the most problems on a daily basis. Because of a lack of reference points and fear of the unknown, visually impaired people abandon an activity that is essential, vital and necessary to maintain a healthy life.
Enable visually impaired people to regain their independence and consequently their self-confidence
To allow visually impaired people to regain confidence in themselves and in their abilities.
During my interviews, many users told me about their fears and doubts that the handicap brought. They lose confidence in themselves and feel unable to accomplish tasks that were previously simple.
Provide users with the guidance they need Cooking is above all a sensory affair.
Smell, taste but also and above all sight. However, it does not seem impossible to cook without sight, here it is a question of re-learning and pedagogy
How, in a very simple way, can visually impaired people follow a recipe without errors?
There are many problems the users are facing :
Know the key moments of the preparations
Follow a recipe to the letter with clear and precise explanations
Find your way through the recipe
To allow the visually impaired to regain a significant amount of autonomy in their daily lives
By allowing them to return to the kitchen, the ultimate goal of the project is to make them aware of their abilities, to give them a taste for preparing their recipes.
I tried to understand what are the differents needs of the users by asking them the way they cook, and the way they want to cook in the futur.
I first maped the way they are currently cooking in their daily life, allowing me to see where are the pain points in the overall process.
The idea was to interview users about their cooking habits. To conduct the interviews, I first defined several hypotheses in order to validate or invalidate them, and to understand the path(s) to explore.
Hypothesis 1 : Users are afraid to cook, they need to be reassured
Hypothesis 2 : They lack reference points and cannot find their way around the recipe
Hypothesis 3 : They lack information on how to carry out the steps of a recipe
Hypothesis 4 : They lose patience and give up
After having found the necessary information and exchanged with the users, I started to define the perimeter of the project, the features to insert and which track to retain among different concepts.
By asking them about this scenario, I was able to confirm the hypothesis I drew :
Hypothesis 1 ✅
Insecurity during the process - Users are afraid of possible injuries, cuts, burns etc.
Hypothesis 2 ✅
Lack of reference points - It is difficult for them to determine the positioning of objects, but especially their nature. How do I know that I am cutting in the right place, that I am cutting correctly, that I am doing the right thing?
Hypothesis 3 ✅
Lack of information - They keep going back and forth between different tools and different attempts at perception: what is this ingredient, how much to add, when to add it...
Hypothesis 4 ❌
They don't lose patience - Users do not lose patience during the process, but rather are attentive and determined. They tend to get discouraged before the activity starts, not during.
Which device ?
The figures I was able to collect during the discovery step enabled me to do a choice :
People with visual impairments mostly use their phones, especially iPhones, running iOS. This is mainly due to the accessibility advantages offered by Apple. That's why the concepts I explored are oriented around the mobile, since it is often close to the users when they are cooking and allows them to access it quickly.
Thoughts & Features to implement
At this stage of the process, it seemed interesting to me to list what could be implemented in the project
- List of recipes and suggestions
- Detailed step-by-step recipes
- Simple and easy search, including voice search
- Barcode scanning : Like Yuka, and with an API, allow to easily and quickly know the nature of an ingredient. It seemed difficult during my interviews to recognize some ingredients
- To be reassured: make a call to get the necessary information
At this stage, these are only hypotheses, which need to be verified and tested. The goal is to gather as much user feedback as possible to determine whether or not these are the right functions, and when to implement them.
Succes criteria & Hypothetic KPIs
I decided to determine at this stage what could be considered a success with users, by formulating KPIs to remember, which will allow me to determine if I am positioning myself in the right direction.
How to make sure users will use the app when they want to cook ? -
Increase of the downloading
Decrease the proportion of people who don't know the app
How to make people follow the recipe and go to the end -
Increase of recipes consulted by users
Decrease of users who left the recipes pages
How to make sur people will not five up when they have an issue while cooking ? -
Decrease of users who send tickets to understand the app and the recipes
Increase of minutes calling volunteers
I noticed that one of the KPIs, which is the number of minutes spent on calls, can be paradoxical. It is both a success if it increases, improving the frequency of use of the feature, but it can also be a success if users use it less, which can mean that they become more independent in their actions
I first decided to conceive an MVP, that will enable me to get feedbacks from users themselves. The goal was to create a product that will fit the main user's needs I discovered during the project, then to improve things and screens to create a great product that will gather all the needs they have, regarding their disabilities and their feebacks.
Find the recipes you want
The application allows you to find recipes and organize them according to specific criteria or tags created by the user himself, according to his preferences.
The idea was to display the recipes in the same way as in a calendar, to allow the user to focus on the essential. He can change the display mode, according to his criteria and add or remove recipes from his list.
It is easy for user to create tags, allowing them to find quickly their favorites recipes. Colors are there to create a visual hierarchy. Users can create the tags they want, with the color they need.
Volunteers also have access to the application. It has been thought in a slightly different way, and offers less possibilities. It simply allows calls to be answered when a person with a disability wishes to do so. The calls are usually short, and take a few seconds. Over time, the volunteer knows the number of calls they have answered and can become an active member of the community.
I decided to have this prototype tested, so that I could collect data and feedback on the MVP, what went well and what didn't, all thanks to Maze.
From the feedback I have received, I have determined that :
Tags are complex to understand - Users don't particularly understand how to organize, since they are completely free. So I thought it would be better to create clean and predetermined spaces (Meals of the week, Recurring...)
Voice search is not understandable and didactic enough - It's hard to see the difference with Siri, what syntax to use, what words to say, when...
The step-by-step recipes are clear, the timers are clear, and they provide recurring feedback on important tasks in the recipe
The call to a volunteer is very interesting, but he must intervene only in case of necessity - It is thus necessary to privilege autonomy to the call for help.
The gestures are classic and it could be interesting to work on dedicated gestures.
The name of the concept isn't clear, and difficult to understand.
Based on this feedback, I decided to rework the proposal, not by changing it completely, but by taking the feedback into account. It is also an opportunity to anchor the project a little more in reality, and to develop an image around the project, which seemed too dull and lacking soul.
The idea of the project is not only to improve myself, but also to improve my workflow. That's why I followed the following steps:
Creation of a light design system - After listing the necessary components, I created a design system, or rather a UI Kit aiming at simplifying the execution and keeping a consistency in the whole project. In the context of a real project, I could have used an existing DS, or created a more substantial one, in relation with the developers, which could have been available on Zeroheight for example
Screens - I then designed the screens necessary for the proper functioning of the application while trying to integrate the accessibility constraints (WCAG) on Figma.
Prototype - I created the prototypes necessary to understand the application, specifying the micro-interactions, the transitions elements...
Handoff - Since this is a fictitious project, there is no handoff here, but I tried to build my documents in such a way that they would be understood by a development team.
Branding - Finally, throughout the process, I explored branding avenues that I kept in mind while developing the design system and screens, in order to anchor the concept in a reality, adding an emotional dimension to the project and not just a functional one.
Have access to hundreds of recipes
The first & the main feature of the app is to give the user an unlimited choice of differents recipes. All of those latter are detailled and given step by step to the user. With timers, vocal informations, he's able to follow the recipe in the way he want. Furthermore, he can manage all his recipes, display it differently, depending on his disabilty and what he need.
Go through recipes &
scan to recognize things
Dazzle enable the user to go through step by step recipes, helping him getting better cooking. He can scan the barcode of the ingredients he has at home, helping him knowing if he takes the right things.
Call for help only when the they need
One other main feature of the app is to have access to volunteers who can answer who no matter the user's question is. The goal is to help people only when they need.
Volunteers got their app !
Volunteers also have their app, that aim mainly at answering people who call for help. The app also feature how many times volunteers answered the calls, and general informations about visual impairment.
An easy onboarding
I wanted to make the onboarding as easy as possible, to convert a maximum of users, avoiding them to give up or find another app.
Designed to be accessible and pleasant
I tried to design the app thinking of micro-interactions and flows that are simple, well made and that can help the user in his actions.
A fresh and modern branding
I decided to developed a bit more the branding around the project, trying to make a fresh, modern and bold branding, trying to make the users love the product and the brand. I tried to make something that which evokes the way people can shine, can dazzle.
In reviewing this project, there are several things to say. First, this project is still a fictional project, so it is missing several things:
- Biased user feedback
- Fictitious KPIs
- No implementation
On the project itself, the application would probably need more feedback to work perfectly and meet 100% of the users' needs. However, it allowed me to develop a project from A to Z, from discovery to delivery, while working as cleanly as possible, and in such a way that the project is relatively easy to implement.
Say hello ! 🖐
I'm always happy to talk with you whether it is for something big or small !